Rock & Pop
Smyth, David, The Evening Standard (London, England)
Byline: DAVID SMYTH
Marilyn Manson would probably prefer to appear on the art pages of this magazine rather than in the pop section. Indeed, his music is by far the most boring thing about the obscenity-embracing performance artist, an intensely tiresome cauldron of tuneless industrial metal and predictably 'shocking' lyrics about God and death.
Since the release of his last album, 2000's Holy Wood, Manson has moved slightly away from rock as his primary mode of expression, putting on an exhibition of his watercolours, which chiefly feature sun-dappled meadows and rosy-cheeked milkmaids (not really - he paints dead and deformed things, of course). And as if he wasn't frightening enough already, now he's getting even more pretentious. New album The Golden Age Of Grotesque is inspired by Thirties Weimar cabaret, not necessarily a theme to thrill the angry mallrat teens who pay his wages.
Manson has survived for so long thanks to a sharp mind. In Michael Moore's gun culture documentary Bowling For Columbine he came across as the most intelligent person interviewed, speaking with wit and insight about the 1999 Colorado classroom shootings for which he was wrongly blamed.
He claims he has a higher calling than the one which states he must release a terrible album every couple of years. 'I can create art that tests that democracy is working properly,' he says. See? All his overblown shock tactics are actually providing a valuable social service.
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Aside from Avril Lavigne, no other musicians embody the current spirit of the pop charts more than carefully styled fauxrock boy band Busted. Between them they've provided a mainstream answer to the surging popularity of rock for imaginationbereft record company executives, who are currently scrabbling around desperately searching for facsimile groups.
With more and more youngsters waking up to the fact that boy band harmony pop is feeble and recognising the earth-shattering importance of being cool, there's currently a huge market for acts who can play guitars and (apparently) write their own songs. …